I Never Knew Yat

Following ye principle that one should learn someying new every day, here’s a little help for today’s lesson.


Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yeah, this somewhat similar to the Menzies/Mingis Campbell thing, which derives from the loss of the yogh as a printed character.

    The thorn is presumably how the T-V pattern common to pronouns in most Euroean language (tu/vous, etc) mutated from thee and thou to ye and you in English. There’s clearly at least two different ‘th’ sounds in English anyway – try saying path, then saying these, and try to say the ‘th’ sound in the exact same way in each.


  2. Um, how is confusion in the writing system supposed to affect the spoken language in an *illiterate* society?

    “Ye,” “you,” “thou,” “thee” come from the Old English second-person pronoun. Originally, “thou/thee” were singular and “ye/you” plural (the pronunciation and spelling were different, too). Then, the plural forms became used as an honorific (T-V distinction). English then lost its familiar form, using “ye/you” in all situations and lost “ye” as the case system simplified as well.

    No spelling was involved.

    In a literate society, though, confusion *can* be created by spelling. For example, the (mostly) British convention of using “er” to represent a schwa in onomatopoeia and loan-words tricks Americans (and maybe Irish, Scots, and Welsh, too) into adding an “r” sound: “erm” is the British spelling of “um”–but pronounced exactly the same–and “juggernaut” has no “r” in the Hindustani original.


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